Bobby Brown Exhibition celebrated at Bells 50th anniversary contest

14 Apr 2011 0 Share

Bobby Brown in the Bells bowl 1967 Australian National Titles.

Bobby Brown in the Bells bowl 1967 Australian National Titles.


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Friday March 15, 2011

Bobby Brown Exhibition "Celebrating a Surfing Legend"  launched at Gold Coast Surf World last year, and after a great response at the Noosa Festival of Surfing in March, the exhibition now heads to the Bells Beach 50th Anniversary Rip Curl Pro and will be displayed at Surf World Torquay.

It is entirely fitting that the BB Exhibition is on show during the 50th anniversary of the Bells Beach Easter event as it was Bobby's last competition and last final appearance in 1967 where he placed 4th in the open men's Australian National Titles behind Nat Young (1st), Midget Farrelly (2nd) Peter Drouyn (3rd) Bobby Brown (4th), Ted Spencer (5th) and Keith Paul (6th).

The 1967 Bells Beach National finals were a significant event with the showdown between Nat Young and Midget Farrelly both World Champions and leading the design stakes with Nat on his World championship model influenced by Bob McTavish and Midget's high performance Stringerless design. It was a titanic struggle between both the arch rivals with Nat eventually dominating Midget on the final day. It was Peter Drouyn's first year in the opens, placing a credible third and then Bobby, Ted and Keith dueling it out for the minor places.

The '67 showdown signaled the end of the 9ft longboard era, as the following year Keith Paul won the Australian titles on an 8ft board.  Also in '67 at Bells saw the emergence of Victoria's brilliant kid genius junior Wayne Lynch at 14 years of age take the National Junior title from Kevin Parkinson, Butch Cooney, David Trelor and Jeff "Bully" Arnold.

"Bobby's board with the white slipcheck patch on the nose deck was an immediate eye grabber and we all rushed off to our surf shops to cover our noses like Bobby's board!" said Victorian surfing historian Bob Smith.

Bobby and his fiancé Lorraine McIntyre who were planning to marry at the end of 1967 and go to Hawaii for their honeymoon drove down to Bells in his work ute.

"Bobby was into the basic things in life and we camped up on the Bells hill sleeping under the canopy with a lot of blankets to keep us warm from the Victorian cold nights!" said Lorraine.

Midget Farrelly who was greatly admired by Bobby Brown said if Bobby had lived he would have always been a contender for the number one position in Australian surfing.   "How ever you look at it - Bobby was going to be there (if he lived) with Nat, Ted, Russell, Drouyn, Keith and Frank Latta!  These guys were finalists through the 60's - he would (always) have been one of them!" said Midget.

Bobby Brown was tragically killed over a game of pool in August 1967.  His assailant was later acquitted of a manslaughter charge citing accidental death.

One of Bells greatest success stories is Simon Anderson who won his first Australian junior title there in 1971 and then 10 years later in 1981 rode to victory in epic surf on the first thruster (3 fin surfboard) that he designed.  Simon will help launch the official opening night at Surf World Torquay on Tuesday 19th of April from 6.30pm. Admission is free and open to the public. Bobby's older brother John Brown will also attend the launch handing out his special Freedom poems dedicated to his late and great brother.

One of Bobby's handshaped Gordon and Smith surfboards has been found in Tasmania and will be restored just in time for the Torquay exhibition. Jason Viggers, a mechanical designer of Waragul, Victoria read about the Exhibition on Facebook and was aware that his Uncle Michael Whisher-Wilson had bought one of Bobby's boards for $10.00! Bobby was taught how to shape by Floyd Smith of Gordon and Smith surfboards in his last year and only shaped so many boards and this is a rare find indeed! The Bobby Brown Celebrating a Surfing Legend will be at Surf World Torquay from Easter until July 2011.

In September the BB Exhibition will be at Jackson Surfboards, Caringbah, Cronulla from 10th – 17th  September.  Then a final Exhibition and a paddle out for Bobby at his favorite wave at Sandon Point (Wollongong) in association with the Sandon Point boardriders club's annual single fin on Saturday 24th of September.

For more info check www.bobbybrownsurfinglegend.com or contact curator Andrew McKinnon, 0412754974.

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